Can the word "coexist" be used for more than two things/people/subjects/... etc?

For example:

The three communities complement each other and it will be marvelous to coexist side by side.

  • 6
    To me, the "side by side" seems more jarring than the "coexist". Many things can coexist, but I feel only two things can be side by side. That may just be me, though.
    – oerkelens
    Jul 1, 2019 at 7:11
  • 3
    @oerkelens The group of one hundred people linked arms and stood side by side in a line that stretched down the block. Jul 1, 2019 at 7:20
  • The prefix co means : "Together; joint; jointly; mutually: coeducation." ... "with or together, as in co-exist." – TFD - I think the historical use of words like coeducation are tripping you up; there's more than two genders but the word still applies.
    – Mazura
    Jul 1, 2019 at 21:59
  • @JasonBassford I wouldn't say your example is an example of how "side by side" can be used for multiple things. What oerkelens was talking about was if the was a big bunch of something, described as being "side by side". Whilst your example is a line of a hundred people, respectively standing side by side.
    – A. Kvåle
    Jul 1, 2019 at 22:19
  • > di 1 a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “two,” “twice,” “double” (diphthong); on this model, freely used in the formation of compound words (dicotyledon; dipolar) and in chemical terms (diatomic; disulfide). – dictionary.com
    – Mazura
    Jul 2, 2019 at 1:19

2 Answers 2


Yes, the definition does not impose any limits on this:

Exist at the same time or in the same place.

(source: Lexico)

and there are some example sentences there as well which imply more than two subjects:

  • Modern Western medical practices coexist with traditional healing methods and the use of medicinal plants.
  • Nobody has convincingly explained how the birds, bees, flowers and hares of the uplands can coexist with a new influx of humans.
  • Amazon plants, evergreen pines, basil and other strange flora coexisted in perfect harmony.
  • 3
    In your first two examples, I interpret it as two things coexisting, but one of them is a collective. But the third example supports your thesis.
    – Barmar
    Jul 1, 2019 at 15:57

From wikitionary:

coexistence (countable and uncountable, plural coexistences): The state of two or more things existing together, usually in a temporal or spatial sense, with or without mutual interaction.

So yes, more than 2 subjects can coexist together.

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